Over the weekend of 24-26 June, Taman Kuliner was awash with celebrity chefs, food lovers and restaurateurs alike, as the sixth Ubud Food Festival (UFF) made its lively return. The incredible diversity of Indonesia’s cuisines, outstanding chefs and entrepreneurs, and the bright future of the nation’s culinary industry took centre stage – a testament to Indonesia’s rising culinary status which has been championed by UFF over recent years.
At Taman Kuliner, the Festival Hub, visitors were able to truly delve deep into the island’s culinary landscape, with more than 80 vendors offering food, drink and their expertise. At the Teater Kuliner stage, dozens of chefs from across the archipelago and abroad plated up their specialty dishes and attracted a full crowd at almost every session. Culinary icons including Petty Elliott, Lisa Sibagariang and William Salim performed to packed audiences.
At the Masterclass stage, culinary masters delighted festival goers with contemporary interpretations of much-loved classics, such as Fernando Sindu’s dishes with oncom, a traditional and much-loved fermented, plant-based food from West Java, and Ayu Gayatri’s dishes from North Bali featuring with local superfood Moringa. Singapore’s acclaimed Michelin star chef Andrew Walsh challenged his eager audience to learn his special technique of poaching salmon and plating it with award-winning finesse.
The Food for Thought corner, meanwhile, welcomed Indonesian culinary icons such as William Wongso, Helianti Hilman and Ragil Imam Wibowo, who shared their childhood food memories, reflected on those who have fostered their love of cooking and influenced them along the way. With panels on sustainable fisheries and farming, Bali’s environmental warriors, and the world’s next superfoods, the festival’s discussion series explored vital themes. Festival goers could meet environmental heroes such as Made Janur Yasa and AA Gede Agung Wedhatama among others.
The festival’s Film Screening program presented an array of contemporary documentaries and films that highlight and celebrate Indonesia’s unique culinary history. Festival-goers experienced a diverse cultural tour of the archipelago without ever having to leave their seats, from Now Bali!’s ‘Arak Made in Bali’, to Vision+ new series ‘Once Upon a Time in Chinatown’ and its heartwarming celebration of Jakarta’s Chinatown and its iconic family-run restaurants, to the rich documentation of Minangkabau’s cultural values in ‘Alam Takambang Jadi Guru’ and a discussion session supported by Kementerian Pendidikan, Kebudayaan, Riset, dan Teknologi.
Forging new relationships between local chefs and those from across Southeast Asia, the UFF’s Special Events featured dynamic collaborations in some of Ubud’s top venues. The Donna team plated up alongside Chefs Amy Baard, Melissa Palinkas and Natalia Halim and Filipino Liquid Maestro Kalel Demetri to serve a show-stopping menu of cocktails and unbelievable food. Chef Andrew Walsh alongside Belgian-born Chef Nic Vanderbeeken, Maxie Millian and Dayu Chintya served a dinner party to remember in a once-only star-studded Apéritif x Cure collaboration. Plus, an exclusive collaboration with Plataran Ubud Hotel & Spa where Chef Petty Elliott led a grand celebration of traditional Indonesian dishes garnered from the Borobudur relief, Labuan Bajo, Sulawesi and Manado.
“The response from festival goers, partners, venues and volunteers has been overwhelmingly positive, with many participants sharing their excitement about being able to gather again for feasting,” said Festival Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “This demonstrates the need for such an event in which people from all walks of life come again together and celebrate what makes Ubud such a special place and a destination for foodies in Indonesia and beyond.”